Thursday, May 21, 2015

Vegetarian Gumbo (with Kale, Okra & ToFurky)

A photo posted by Höķm Guerrerø (@revmcnasty) on

I LOVE GUMBO.  It's my comfort food.  Even if I'm not hungry I can polish off a bowl of this amazing stuff in record time.  Since becoming vegetarian I have tried and tried again to make a satisfying gumbo and I've been let down again and again.  Finally, after much deliberation with the Wife, I came up with a combination of flavors that is the closest thing to the carnivore version of one of my favorite dishes of all time.

4-5 cups of loosely packed chopped kale
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 springs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 TBSP salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Crystal brand hot sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 cups chopped frozen okra
1/2 lb (2 links) ToFurky sausage, sliced into thin discs
1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice (or quinoa or orzo)
Scallions, sliced
Filé powder
  1.  Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Add kale and boil for 5 minutes.  Drain kale into colander.  Rinse out the pot and place back on stove.
  2. Whisk together oil and flour into the pot and cook on moderately high heat.  Try and make a roux as dark as you can.  I'm talking chocolate colored.  Blonde or caramel colored is way too light.  The end result will taste disappointing.  It won't be bad, it just won't taste like the air in Jackson Square.  The trick is to stir it constantly and adjust the heat to it doesn't burn.  I switch between a whisk and a small rubber spatula.  It takes me about 20+ minutes.  I turn the heat to medium and back up again a few times to achieve a dark roux without burning it.
  3. Once you have a dark dark roux, set the heat to medium and add the onion, bell peppers, celery, garlic and parsley.  Stir these in well - it will naturally cool the roux - and cook the veggies for about 7-8 minutes or until they are all softened.
  4. Add the stock, salt, pepper, hot sauce, bay leaf and thyme.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for an 40 minutes. 
  5. Add cooked kale and frozen okra to gumbo. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Meanwhile: spray a skillet with cooking spray and lightly sear the sliced ToFurky sausages on medium high heat, about four minutes - flipping halfway through.
  6. Add the sausage to pot, stir.
  7. Tightly pack cooked rice into a - not too large - ladle (an ice cream scoop also works) and place scoop in center of bowl. Ladle gumbo around rice ball. Top with scallions and a sprinkle of  Filé powder
This makes about 4 or 5 servings.  Doubling this for larger groups works fine. 

Gumbo mixes very well with cold beer.  It doesn't matter what kind.

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